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today in history

Today is the 170th day of 2017. There are 195 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights

On June 19, 1867, Maximilian I, emperor of Mexico since 1864, was executed by firing squad a month after being taken prisoner by the forces of President Benito Juarez. The inaugural running of the Belmont Stakes took place; the winner was a filly named Ruthless.

On this date

In 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that all remaining slaves in Texas were free — an event celebrated to this day as “Juneteenth.”

In 1917, during World War I, King George V ordered the British royal family to dispense with German titles and surnames; the family took the name “Windsor.”

In 1937, the city of Bilbao fell to the Nationalist Army during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1953, Julius Rosenberg, 35, and his wife, Ethel, 37, convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved by the U.S. Senate, 73-27, after surviving a lengthy filibuster.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes, blamed for at least 122 deaths, made landfall over the Florida Panhandle.

In 1977, Pope Paul VI proclaimed a 19th-century Philadelphia bishop, John Neumann, the first male U.S. saint.

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Edwards v. Aguillard, struck down, 7-2, a Louisiana law requiring any public school teaching the theory of evolution to teach creationism as well.

In 1999, author Stephen King was seriously injured when he was struck by a van driven by Bryan Smith in North Lovell, Maine.

Ten years ago: A truck bomb struck a Shiite mosque in central Baghdad, killing at least 87 people. President George W. Bush and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sided emphatically with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his standoff with the militant group Hamas.

Five years ago: WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange took refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced questioning about alleged sex crimes. (Sweden dropped its inquiry in May 2017, but Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid arrest by British authorities for jumping bail.) The Southern Baptist Convention voted to elect its first African-American president, the Rev. Fred Luter Jr.

One year ago: LeBron James and his relentless Cavaliers pulled off an improbable NBA Finals comeback to give the city of Cleveland its first title since 1964 as they became the first team to rally from a 3-1 finals deficit by beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors 93-89. Anton Yelchin, a rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films, was killed by his own car as it rolled down his driveway in Los Angeles; he was 27.

Today’s Birthdays: Pop singer Tommy DeVito (The Four Seasons) is 89. Actress Gena Rowlands is 87. Hall of Fame race car driver Shirley Muldowney is 77. Singer Spanky McFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang) is 75. Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is 72. Author Salman Rushdie is 70. Actress Phylicia Rashad is 69. Rock singer Ann Wilson (Heart) is 67. Musician Larry Dunn is 64. Actress Kathleen Turner is 63. Country singer Doug Stone is 61. Singer Mark DeBarge is 58. Singer-dancer-choreographer Paula Abdul is 55. Actor Andy Lauer is 54. Rock singer-musician Brian Vander Ark (Verve Pipe) is 53. Actor Samuel West is 51. Actress Mia Sara is 50. TV personality Lara Spencer is 48. Rock musician Brian “Head” Welch is 47. Actor Jean Dujardin is 45. Actress Robin Tunney is 45. Actor Bumper Robinson is 43. Actress Poppy Montgomery is 42. Alt-country singer-musician Scott Avett (The Avett Brothers) is 41. Actor Ryan Hurst is 41. Actress Zoe Saldana is 39. Actress Lauren Lee Smith is 37. Rapper Macklemore (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) is 34. Actor Paul Dano is 33. Actor Giacomo Gianniotti is 28. Actor Atticus Shaffer is 19.

Thought for Today: “Free thinkers are generally those who never think at all.” — Laurence Sterne, English author (1713-1768).

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